Ron Glass, who portrayed Ron Harris, the dapper and intellectual detective on the ensemble television comedy series “Barney Miller” and who appeared in numerous television shows and films, died on Friday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 71.
The cause was respiratory failure, his agent, Jeffrey Leavitt, said.
Mr. Glass was nominated for an Emmy Award for supporting actor in 1982 for his performance on “Barney Miller,” which was set in a detective squad room in a rundown precinct house in Greenwich Village. The show, which aired from 1975 to 1982, was less police procedural and more about the foibles of its diverse characters on both sides of the law.
Episodes featured oddball suspects being brought to the station to be processed by the world-weary detectives, played by, among others, Hal Linden as the precinct captain, Barney Miller; Abe Vigoda as Detective Phil Fish; and Steve Landesberg as Sgt. Arthur Dietrich. (Mr. Vigoda died in January; Mr. Landesberg died in 2010.)
At times, Detective Harris was more concerned with his natty attire and aspirations as a writer than he was with investigating crimes.
“Barney Miller” won two Golden Globes and two Emmys for best comedy series.
Mr. Glass portrayed Derrial Book, the spiritual shepherd with a cloudy past in the 2002 science-fiction series “Firefly” and its 2005 film sequel, “Serenity.”
“Ron Glass was one of the greatest actors to work with,” his “Firefly” co-star Alan Tudyk wrote on Twitter. “His laugh was beyond infectious and his generosity was ever-present.”
Ronald Earle Glass was born on July 10, 1945, in Evansville, Ind. He earned a bachelor’s degree in drama and literature from the University of Evansville and made his stage debut at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, The Associated Press reported.
In 1972, he made his first television appearance in an episode of “Sanford and Son.” In 1982, after “Barney Miller,” he played Felix Unger, opposite Demond Wilson as Oscar Madison, in an updated version of “The Odd Couple” called “The New Odd Couple,” which lasted one season.
He appeared in shows such as “Friends,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Designing Women” and recently in episodes of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
In the Nickelodeon cartoon series “Rugrats” and its spinoff, “All Grown Up,” he was the voice of Randy Carmichael, the genial neighbor and father of four children.
He was a member of the board of the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center in Los Angeles, an organization named for a man killed in a drive-by shooting and dedicated to helping inner-city youth stay safe and get an education.
“Ron was a very caring and happy soul,” the center said on its website. “He brought a lot of passion, energy, excellence and fun to the table.”
Information about survivors was not immediately available.